Here’s a quick peek behind the curtain: At the beginning of each month we invite our small, but mighty contingent of Void Mag editorial contributors to the office for a pow-wow. We ply them with beer and food. We ask them for feedback on past issues. We talk about the issue to come and collectively workshop potential story ideas. It’s an enjoyable hour and half, to be sure. And something that I wish we could do more often.
After the meeting, our contributors toil away at their keyboards, piecing together thoughts and ideas we shared as a group, to spin narratives and recount Q&A sessions that end up on the pages of this magazine. There’s rarely blood, but there’s definitely sweat, and assuredly a few tears.
It’s drudgery done in obscurity. They are compensated, sure. And they get to see their name in small font near the top of their piece. But they’re not doing it for money. And they certainly aren’t doing it for name recognition. In fact, the more time you spend with writers, the more it’s apparent that they write because they have to. Because not doing so would deprive them of an essential outlet for self-expression.
In early August when we met to flesh out ideas for Void’s annual Sports Issue, I asked our contributors to think outside the box, to think broadly about the term “sport,” to look for stories of unsung heroes, or people who, similar to their work as writers, may chase his or her passion in relative anonymity. As always, our team was game.
One of the hardest parts of being an editor is making the decision to leave a story on the cutting room floor. This group unfailingly makes that even more difficult. And though we most certainly left out (and overlooked) a few worthy individuals, I feel pretty good about the collection of profiles of and interviews with Northeast Florida athletes and sports personalities, herein. Although they participate in a variety of sports—from competitive bodybuilder Laura Norton (“Feminine and Fit,” by Amber Lake) to skateboarder and founder of Jax Lady Skaters, Adrienna Crawford (“Pushing Every Day”) to Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and self-defense instructor, Mattie Brown (“Armbar Insurance,” by Ian Mikrut), there are commonalities between all of the sportspersons featured—an inherent drive to improve, unquestionable commitment to their chosen pursuit, resilience, grit, and (of course) skill. None are making buku bucks, or receiving regular coverage on any of ESPN’s multitude of 24-hour sports stations. They’ve committed their bodies and minds to a goal, not for notoriety, monetary compensation, or celebrity status. But because to not do so would be unthinkable. They do it, in other words, because they have to.
To you, dear reader, I say thank you for putting your eyeballs on this magazine, even though you don’t have to. Your support is what keeps us toiling away in obscurity, day in and day out. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our most recent labors.